February 2014

IAG, the owner of British Airways, on Friday posted a pre-tax profit from continuing operations, after exceptional items, of £186m, a significant turnaround from making a big loss last year. Total revenue grew 3.1%, despite a near 12% decline in cargo revenue. Passenger revenue grew almost 6%.

IAG Logo

One of the reasons for the return to profitability has been the reduced losses at its Spanish airline, Iberia, and the acquisition of the budget carrier, Vueling.

Iberia A330

Iberia – profitable soon?

Willie Walsh, IAG’s chief executive, said Britsh Airways has also benefited from cost improvements and the additional Heathrow take-off and landing slots it acquired through its 2012 takeover of the loss-making UK carrier, BMI.

British Airways made a large operating profit for the 12 months to December 31, and Iberia, while remaining in the red, reduced its losses. Vueling has made an operating profit since April.

 

Mr Walsh said: “In 2013, we strengthened the group by acquiring Vueling, embarking on Iberia’s transformation and enhancing British Airways’ revenue performance. This has led to a strong financial recovery and return to profitability.”

The company expects to make “steady progress” this year towards its target of generating a group operating profit of approximately £1.5bn by the end of 2015.

Mr. Willie Walsh

Willie Walsh

Willie also said “I think the report is excellent, the commission has done some really good work. The problem is political, the failure to embrace the findings of the report. I don’t see any sign that politicians have changed their view,” “I think the politicians will try to avoid this issue and they’ll be sitting here in several years debating this issue and we’ll be losing ground. The economy will suffer as a result of lack of runway capacity in general,”.

Amazingly, the last full-length runway in the South East of England was opened in 1946.

A survey of 3000 consumers carried out by the Centre for Brand Analysis ranks British Airways as the top brand, beating Rolex and Coca-Cola into second and third respectively.

The Consumer Superbrands ranking has been running since 1995, and the list this year is interesting

Apple took a spanking this year, plummeting from 2nd to 14th, with Microsoft ranking a surprising 6th. Marks & Spencer are still hanging in there at 18th.

So the top Consumer Superbrands for 2014, apparently, are:

1. British Airways

2. Rolex

3. Coca-Cola

4. BBC

5. Heinz

6. Microsoft

7. Google

8. Gillette

9. Kellogg’s

10. BMW

11. Cadbury

12. Andrex

13. Amazon.co.uk

14. Apple

15. Boots

16. Nike

17. Sony

18. Marks & Spencer

19. Shell

20. Mercedes-Benz

India has always been an important destination for British Airways, now more than ever.

Today we have a look at some current marketing initiatives..

India is one of the most important markets for British Airways. It is the airline’s second largest market globally with connections from five key cities in India 48 times a week to over 500 destinations around the world.  British Airways has been flying to India for around 85 years.

photo of BOAC poster India

How a campaign used to look

The “Go Further to Get Closer” campaign, was launched on Valentine’s Day and narrated the story of how British Airways helped Sumeet Gupta surprise his wife and made it possible for them to get closer.

The premise of the  story is that surprise and love go hand in hand and of how British Airways helped him surprise his wife Chetna by giving them an opportunity to escape from daily distractions and get closer to each other.

“Go Further to Get Closer”, produced by Ogilvy India, is an emotional campaign and shows how British Airways’ marketing strategy for India focuses on introducing India centric naratives to create an emotional and meaningful connection with the younger audience.  The campaign is based on the view that affluent young couples today have fallen into the trap of making work their top priority in life, and that this focus is takes a toll on their personal relationships as they are unable to spend enough quality time with their partners. But a solution for this is to travel internationally to see their family and friends.

In December 2013 in what was another inovative move, BA brought Silent Picturehouse in Mumbai- A three day film extravaganza to commemorate 100 years of Indian cinema. Launched in London in 2010, British Airways’ Silent Picturehouse created a unique cinematic experience, screening three films on three screens, combining the in-flight entertainment experience with the traditional cinema environment.

Viewers were able to tune in to their movie of choice from the available options using wireless headphones thus immersing themselves completely in the world of film. This was the first time that ‘Silent Picturehouse’ was launched in an international market outside the UK.

As part of the marketing campaign to promote the UK globally, the GREAT Big British Invite, British Airways and VisitBritain in February 2013 hosted a four-day grand event at the Phoenix Mall in Mumbai showcasing British fashion, music, heritage among others in the form of pop-up stores in true British style. The activity reportedly generated great amount of interest among the people of Mumbai.

 

Barbados will look forward to welcoming additional holiday-makers looking for some winter warmth and sunshine, as BA has announced an increase from 10 to 12 flights per week. Barbados remains a favourite destination for British holidaymakers.

The two extra flights will run from 30 November, 2014 to 29 February, 2015, and may bring nearly 600 extra passengers to the island per week.

British Airways Winter Schedule photo of a beach

This will look very inviting come December

Petra Roach, Vice President Sales & Marketing at the Barbados Tourism Authority, said: ‘We are really pleased with the news that British Airways will be offering extra services over the next winter season and we will be working assiduously with our travel partners to ensure that we maximise on this additional capacity – 2014 promises to be a positive year and we appreciate the confidence that BA has instilled in one of their top long haul destinations.’

For the past 60 years, Barbados has had a strong relationship with BA. The increase in services to Barbados marks BAs’ continuing commitment to the island and will serve as a welcome addition to increase inbound travel from the UK market.

 

 

British Airways is bringing a celebration of film to customers at 35,000ft, to coincide with the EE British Academy Film Awards, taking place on Sunday 16 February.

To ensure the tens of thousands of customers in February don’t miss out, the airline is showing a selection of nominated films on board and those returning from abroad will be able to enjoy an exclusive 25 minutes highlight show on board selected flights the next day.

In honour of the upcoming Awards, the forthcoming nominated films will be showing on board: Behind the Candelabra, Blue Jasmine, Despicable Me 2, Gravity, Pacific Rim, Rush, Star Trek (Into Darkness) and The Butler.

 

Seatback tv in British Airways World Traveller cabin

In flight entertainment

From March, customers will also be able to enjoy a number of additional films, including Philomena – some scenes from the movie were filmed on board British Airways flights. It is nominated for several Awards including ‘Best Film’, ‘Leading Actress’ (Judi Dench) and ‘Adapted Screenplay’. It follows the story of a journalist who reads about a woman’s search for her son, taken away from her decades ago whiles she was forced to live in a convent.

Richard D’Cruz, British Airways’ in-flight entertainment and technology manager, said: “We offer customers hundreds of hours of the latest Hollywood blockbusters, classic and world film. We have also extended our in-flight entertainment programme, so customers can watch TV and movies from the moment they board, to the minute they land, on long haul flights.

 

“As the Official Airline partner to BAFTA, we fly stars to the Awards and work together to select the best films for our customers to enjoy. This month we are showing eight nominated films, as well as previous BAFTA-winning films including ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ and ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.”

 

British Airways customers can plan their entertainment before they fly, by visiting
ba.com/highlifeentertainment. The site allows customers to plan their films and download a schedule planner, as well as share content with friends on social media.